|YOUTH POWER: 22-year-old Ngân Thị Vạn Sự (21) celebrates her opening goal for Việt Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Linh|
PHNOM PENH — The Việt Nam national women's football team is one win away from their fourth consecutive gold medal, after beating hosts Cambodia 4-0 on Friday.
Goals from Ngân Thị Vạn Sự, Phạm Hải Yến and Trần Thị Thuỳ Trang in the first half brought a comfortable lead for Việt Nam, before Huỳnh Như sealed the victory with a last-minute penalty.
Việt Nam ended the group stage with a 1-2 loss against the Philippines on Tuesday. However, the Golden Star Women Warriors still advanced to the semifinals in first place, and avoid a tie with rivals Thailand.
Their opponent, Cambodia, although having made great progress and advanced to the knockout stage for the first time, still displayed inexperience against stronger opponents, as evident in their 0-3 loss to Thailand in the group stage.
Mai Đức Chung's girls seemed to have grasped their opponents' weaknesses and started the match confidently. Phạm Hải Yến even rocked the hosts' woodwork with a close-range shot in the fourth minute.
Việt Nam did not have to wait long for their opening goal. In the 20th minute, Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhã's corner somehow found Nguyễn Thị Mỹ Anh free in the left wing. The left-back sprinted down and crossed in for Vạn Sự to head into Cambodia's net from close range.
Just ten minutes later, Thanh Nhã broke the offside trap and fired a cross that rebounded off Vibol Sreysitha and went straight to Hải Yến, who tapped in Việt Nam's second goal.
Cambodia, whose first international football game happened just five years ago in 2018, continued to make inexperienced mistakes. In the 37th minute, Thái Thị Thảo was brought down after an unnecessary tackle inside the box, which the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Thuỳ Trang confidently dispatched the penalty to end the first half with a comfortable lead for Việt Nam.
Mai Đức Chung directed his team to continue the pressure in the second half. Although many chances were created for Việt Nam, the girls in red lacked the finesse in their finishing.
Việt Nam, however, still get their fourth goal right in the final minute of the game, after a clumsy handball from a Cambodian defender inside the box led to a penalty.
From the spot, captain Huỳnh Như, who currently plays in Portugal for Lank FC, scored with a powerful shot to the bottom corner.
With this result, Việt Nam is full steam ahead to their fourth consecutive gold medal, with Myanmar being their final obstacle.
Myanmar, who lost 1-2 to Việt Nam in the group stage, shocked many with a 4-2 comeback against Thailand in their semifinal match.
Huỳnh Như and her teammates will have three days to rest and prepare before facing Myanmar in the final on Monday. — VNS